Apr 26, 2015

Cottage Industry Food Laws In Hawaii

Cottage Industry Food Laws (sometimes referred to as Home-Food Processing Rules, Cottage Food Rules and Baker’s Bills) govern food preparation businesses that are operated from the home. Cottage Food laws allow a person to legally bake and prepare non-potentially hazardous foods from their personal kitchens and sell them on a small scale, generally directly to consumers, farmers markets and a few states are even allowing sales to restaurants and grocery stores. So Far the Cottage Food Laws have been approved in 31 states, but not in Hawaii. Hawaii has "pending legislation", and has had for two years now (click here to view this pending legislation). I wonder how long "pending" is? You can find out more about cottage food laws on this site.

Moloka'i Saturday Farmers Market
Farmers markets are extremely popular in this country, and in the state of Hawaii, because people find local products at bargain prices. Just visit Molokai's farmers market on any Saturday morning, and you'll see people trying to make ends meet by selling their own cottage industry food products, like spices, baked goods, jellies and jams, pickled mango, or chili pepper water. Also local fishermen selling dried fish out of the back of their pick-up trucks on main street, fish like akule, and ahi. Currently in Hawaii, none of these products can be legally sold unless they were processed in a commercial kitchen, not in someones home. 

The state Department of Health (DOH) in Hawaii regulates the permitting of the sales of these items, which it considers homemade non-potentially hazardous foods. Under DOH rules, the food makers can sell their products only directly to consumers and not to other food establishments such as stores or restaurants. These sales are only authorized for 20 days within any 120-day period per temporary food establishment location, thereby forcing the food seller to have to re-apply for the permit multiple times per year. These products also have to be correctly labeled based on the State of Hawaii Department of Health food labeling laws, (click here to view).

As a chef, I understand that the state Department of Health is just trying to protect the public from getting sick from food that may be unsafe to eat, because the people who made it may not know anything about food safety. I'm currently in the process of starting a new food business here on Moloka'i and would like to produce my food products out of my home, which is what the cottage industry law is all about. Unfortunately, every time I want to make more of my product, I have to rent an expensive commercial kitchen, plus get a 20 day permit from the state Department of Health in order to sell it. All of this will make my product too expensive to sell, and too much trouble to make.

This Cottage Industry Food bill is supported by the Hawaii Farm Bureau, The Kohala Center, Local Food Coalition, Sustainable Economies Law Center, Counter Culture Food & Ferment, Tasting Kaua‘i, Kolo Kai Organic Farm, and Steelgrass Farm, but the Department of Health opposes it according to the Hawaii Food Policy Council


The state of Hawaii should be going out of their way to make the process of starting a new business as easy as possible. This will generate much needed new jobs and tax revenue. Instead the state of Hawaii is not working with the people that it is supposed to serve, and is showing us how free enterprise is being stifled. Hawaii needs a law passed similar to California's law, which went into effect on January 1, 2013, a law that is working without any problems. Here is how California makes their Cottage Food Laws work (click here). 

A true "grassroots movement" isn't organized by political forces - instead, a "grassroots movement" springs up spontaneously due to some issue, like the Hawaii Cottage Industry Food Law, that a state feels needs to be passed. Is this a grassroots movement? You bet it is! Come on Hawaii legislature, get it together, two years is long enough!

Update: Two years after I wrote this story, nothing has changed in Hawaii. Out of desperation, I see more and more local people showing up at our Molokai Farmers Market selling homemade, unregulated food products. This is partially because of our outdated food laws, plus the fact that Molokai has no, on island, health department inspector. Click here to read more about this.


Apr 10, 2015

The World's Most Sought-after Red Meat – GOAT!

Goats are known for eating everything,
but to stay healthy, goats need to eat plant material found
on pasture land with lots of various grasses.
It turns out that goat meat is now the most popular red meat in the world... who'd a thunk?

Goat meat accounts for 70% of all red meat consumed worldwide – the United States is one of the last places where goat meat is still considered exotic. However, the U.S. has been importing goat from Australia since 1991, bringing in more than 700,000 goats. 

Hawai‘i’s total goat inventory is at 12,000, a 56% increase over the 2012 inventory. Demand for goat meat, called cabrito or chevron, far exceeds its supply, and making it an important sector of the livestock industry in Hawaii.

Goat meat is particularly popular among cultures from the Philippines, near and South Asia, Latin America, Africa, the Caribbean, and others. Individuals from these regions drive a strong demand for goats sold on the hoof for home slaughter in Hawai‘i. Much of the demand peaks around religious holidays, graduations, weddings, and other celebrations.

Among the benefits of goat meat are easy digestibility, good taste, low fat and cholesterol. Goat meat is very low in fat, with little or no marbling, so it is often cooked slowly and over low heat with a lot of moisture. Tenderness of the meat cut determines the method or methods of cooking. Tender cuts of meat are usually best when cooked by a dry heat method such as roasting, broiling or frying. Less tender cuts are tenderized by cooking with moist heat such as braising and stewing. Tender cuts of goat meat are the legs, ribs, portions of the shoulder cut, the loin, roast and the breast. Less tender cuts of goat are stew meat, riblets and shanks. In general, it is advisable to cook the meat slowly. Cooking any meat at low temperatures results in a more tender and flavourful product with more juice. If you live on Moloka'i, and want to try goat meat, you can buy it at the Moloka'i Livestock Cooperative, phone #(808) 567-6994, located at 3367 Maunaloa Highway, Ho'olehua.

Recipes for cooking goat meat are varied. Goat meat does have it’s own distinct flavor and aroma. If prepared with patience and adequate moisture, you and your family will enjoy a delicious meal made with the world's most sought-after meat... goat meat.



Caribbean Jerked Leg of Goat
Ingredients:
2 cups onion, chopped
4 to 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 2 tablespoons dried leaves)
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup of soy sauce
1 hot pepper, or to taste, chopped, or teaspoon hot pepper oil
1 leg of goat with bone in

Procedure:
Mix or puree together the onions, garlic, soy sauce and spices to form a paste.

Pierce the leg of goat and rub the paste over the meat; cover or wrap in foil and refrigerate overnight. (Any unused paste can be stored in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to a month.)

Preheat the oven to 325˚F.

In a large pan (cast iron is best) on a hot stove sear the meat well on all sides.

Cover meat loosely with foil and cook for one to two hours or more depending on weight — until the internal temperature reaches 150˚F to 160˚F. Remove the foil for the last 15 minutes of cooking.

Note: If you use a tougher cut, such as a neck roast, marinate the meat in a mixture of beer and lemon juice overnight. Apply the rub in the morning and refrigerate for four more hours. Makes 2 to 4 servings.


Mexican Roast Goat Adobo 
with Dried Avocado Leaves
Breathing the anise-like scent of fresh avocado leaves and other herbs coming from your oven is a beautiful thing. The meat becomes unbelievably tender without drying out or getting mushy.

Ingredients:
4 ounces guajillo chiles (about 16 large chiles), tops, seeds, and veins removed
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon whole cloves, or 3/4 teaspoon ground
10 allspice berries
1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano, crumbled
12 to 15 large sprigs fresh thyme (leaves only), or 2 teaspoons dried
10 garlic cloves
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt or to taste, plus additional for seasoning goat
Freshly ground black pepper
1 16-pound young goat (kid), quartered, or 6 to 8 pounds lamb shoulder, bone in, trimmed
1/2 to 3/4 ounce dried Mexican avocado leaves (see not below), about 30 large leaves
2 cup chicken broth
1 28 to 32 ounce can of whole tomatoes

Procedure:
Wash and griddle-dry the chiles by the directions below. Place in a deep bowl and cover generously with boiling water. Let soak for at least 20 minutes.

Grind the cumin, cloves, allspice, oregano, and dried thyme (if using) together in an electric coffee or spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle.

Drain the soaked chiles. Working in batches as necessary, place them in a blender with the ground herbs and spices (add fresh thyme at this point if using), garlic, onion, vinegar, salt, and about 1/2 cup water (or enough to facilitate the action of the blades). Process to a smooth purée (about 3 minutes on high), stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. With a wooden spoon or pusher, for the purée through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl. It should have the consistency of a thick but still moist paste.

Season the pieces of goat with salt and pepper. Set aside 1 1/4 cup of the chili paste mixture (adobo) and rub the meat with the rest. Arrange in a large bowl (or any non-reactive container that's large enough), cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours. Remove from the refrigerator about 2 hours before beginning the cooking, to let the meat come to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 250°F.

Choose a deep roasting pan, like a turkey roasting pan with a lid, or baking dish large enough to hold the meat snugly. Scatter half of the avocado leaves across the bottom of the pan and arrange the meat on them. Scatter the remaining leaves over the meat. Cover the pan (wrapping very tightly with three layers of foil if there is no lid) and bake 8 1/2 hours without peaking while it's cooking. The meat should be almost falling off the bone.

When the meat is done, skim the fat from the pan juices and deglaze the roasting pan with 2 cups homemade chicken broth over medium-high heat, scraping up the browned bits. Stir in one 28- to 32-ounce can tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon. Add the reserved adobo chili paste and simmer, stirring frequently, for about 30 minutes, or until reduced to about 4 cups. Let cool slightly and purée in a blender (working in batches as necessary) until smooth. Serve with the carved meat, and beans and rice. Makes 8-10 servings.

Notes: Griddle-Drying Remove and discard the tops, seeds, and veins of the chiles. Rinse the chiles under cold running water and shake off the excess moisture, but do not dry them. Heat a griddle or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles on contact. Place the chiles on the griddle, a few at a time, and let them heat, turning occasionally with tongs, just until any clinging moisture is evaporated and the aroma is released. Allow approximately 30 to 45 seconds of roasting per chile, slightly less for guajillos (which are very thin-skinned). The chiles should just become dry, hot, and fragrant; do not allow them to start really roasting or they will have a terrible scorched flavor. Remove from the griddle as they are done.

Mexican avocado leaves: Mexican cooks use these to impart an anise-like aroma to foods. They're often used as wrappers, or crumbled into stews. Toast the leaves before using, as fresh avocado leaves may be toxic, see this website for more information. You can buy dried imported avocado leaves from Mexico at Spices Inc., online store, or from another online website called mexgrocer.com. Though sizes are not standardized, they generally come in 1 or 2-ounce packets, sometimes with the contents fairly broken up. One ounce of dried avocado leaves is usually equivalent to about 44 leaves. Substitutes: banana leaves (as a wrapper), however it won't be the same flavor as avocado leaves. The leaves of the Mexican avocados (anise-scented) are not toxic, while those of the Guatemalan avocados (not anise-scented) are reported to have caused problems, sometimes fatal, for livestock that ate large amounts, mostly goats that experienced lung congestion and inflammation of the udder. In parts of Mexico, specifically the southern states of Oaxaca and Puebla, toasted and fresh leaves are added to (black) beans, tamales, soups, moles, pipianes, and stews. They're are also layered into casseroles, used as a bed for roasting meats, and wrapped around fish, chicken, and meat when grilling.

Dried Mexican avocado leaves
from Spices Inc.
How to use avocado leaves: Most recipes call for toasting fresh or dried avocado leaves before using. After toasting, they can be added whole, ground, or crumbled to your dish, depending on how you are using them. Some leaves are more pungent that others, so start with a conservative amount, anywhere from one teaspoon of ground leaf to 1 whole leaf for an entire pot of beans. If you want a stronger flavor, simply add more.

To toast avocado leaves: Toast the avocado leaves in a hot, dry skillet, pressing lightly with a spatula, or, using tongs, pass them over a live flame for about 10 seconds. Toasting heats up the natural oils in the leaves and brings out the licorice flavor. For this reason it is best only to toast what you will use in a particular recipe, toasting only for each use.


Goat Caldereta
A famous Filipino dish called Goat Caldereta consisting of a ingredient called "liver spread". I found out that Filipino style liver spread is basically a spicy liver pate, but is a key ingredient in this stew.

Ingredients:
1 pound goat shoulder meat, cut into cubes
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 onion, minced
1/2 tsp. chili flakes (optional)
3 tomatoes, diced
1 cup tomato sauce
6 tablespoons liver spread
2 cups water
2 potatoes, quartered
1 large carrot, sliced
3/4 cup Spanish green olives (optional)
3/4 cup red bell pepper, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste

Procedure:
In a large bowl, combine the vinegar, salt and black pepper. Marinate the goat meat for at least an hour (this is to eliminate the smell and taste of the meat) in the refrigerator. Remove goat meat from marinade, reserving the liquid.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large pot (or casserole) over medium heat. Fry potatoes and carrots until lightly brown. Remove and set aside.

In the same pot, stir-fry the marinated goat meat; cook until lightly brown. Remove and set aside.

Add remaining 1/4 cup oil to pot. Sauté the garlic and onion until fragrant and translucent. Add chili flakes (if using) and tomatoes; stir-fry until wilted. Return goat meat and accumulated juices to pot. Pour the tomato sauce and liver spread; stir and simmer for 2 minutes.

Add water and bring to boil then simmer for an hour or until the meat is tender. (You may add more water if the sauce seems to dry up, a little at a time.) Stir occasionally.

Add potatoes, carrots and green olives (if using). Cook and simmer until tender, about 6 minutes. Season salt and pepper to taste. Add bell peppers, cook for another 2 minutes.
Transfer to a platter. Makes 4 servings.


Grilled Caribbean Goat Kebabs
Ingredients:
1 pound boneless goat loin, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 cup plain low fat yogurt
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 onions, cut into chunks
2 bell peppers, cut into chunks
skewers

Procedure:
In a medium bowl, stir together yogurt, orange juice and all seasonings. Blend well. Add the goat meat cubes to the bowl, stir to coat with the marinade, cover and refrigerate for 4 - 24 hours.
Remove the meat from the marinade, pat lightly with paper towels to dry. Place meat evenly on the skewers with onion and bell pepper chunks. Grill over medium-hot coals, turning frequently, for about 10 minutes until nicely brown. Makes 4 servings.


Goat Stew with Mexican Chiles
Ingredients:
5 pounds kid goat (cabrito) ribs, cut into 3- to 4-in. pieces
About 2 teaspoons kosher salt
8 dried guajillo chiles
4 dried ancho chiles
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon each cumin seeds and dried Mexican oregano
6 whole cloves
1 cup drained canned fire-roasted tomatoes or 2 fresh tomatoes, roasted in a frying pan until browned

Procedure:
Put meat on a baking sheet, pat dry, then rub all over with 2 tsp. salt.

Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan; cover and remove from heat. Meanwhile, stem chiles. Heat a cast-iron skillet or heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Toast chiles in batches, pressing flat against pan's surface with tongs and turning to toast evenly, until lightly browned and fragrant about 2 minutes per batch. Add chiles to hot water as they're toasted and soak, covered, until soft, about 20 minutes.

Toast garlic cloves in same frying pan, turning until browned all over. When cool enough to handle, peel.

Transfer chiles to a blender (reserve liquid) and whirl with garlic, vinegar, and piloncillo. Grind cumin, oregano, and cloves in an electric spice blender or in a mortar, then add to blender with 1/4 cup chile-soaking liquid. Whirl to make a thick paste, adding a little more soaking water if needed.

Smear paste over meat, cover, and chill at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Put a metal cooling rack in a roasting pan (large enough to hold meat in a single layer) and pour in 3 cups water. If water comes above rack, elevate rack with cookie cutters. Arrange meat on rack. Cover pot with a big sheet of heavy foil and crinkle foil around edge to seal tightly. Bake until meat is very tender, 4 to 4 1/2 hours.

Transfer meat to a rimmed baking sheet and cover with foil. Measure broth, skim off fat, and add enough water to make 3 cups.

Whirl tomatoes in a blender until smooth, then whirl in broth. Strain into a saucepan and heat over medium heat until steaming.

Divide hunks of meat among 6 soup bowls and ladle about 1/2 cup broth over each. Season with more salt to taste. Makes 6-8 servings.


Tender Goat Meat Stew with Tomatoes & Okra
Ingredients:
1 1/2 pound fresh okra, cleaned, uncut
2 pounds Roma tomatoes, rough dice
1/2 pound tender goat meat, breast cut, cubed
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice, fresh
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Procedure:
Cut the meat in bite size cubes, sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside. To prepare the okra, wash the pods, drain them, remove the cap, but don't puncture the capsule (to avoid the slimey-ness) and set aside.

In a large heavy pot, over medium heat, drizzle the olive oil and saute the goat meat for 3 minutes, add okra and saute for an additional 3 minutes while stiring occasionally. Add tomatoes, water, half of the cilantro, salt and pepper. Stir together and cover pot. Reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning, add lemon juice and serve hot sprinkled with the remaining chopped cilantro. Serve with brown rice. Makes 4 servings.


Goat Meat Sausage
While it's great for breakfast, it is also good served in tacos. This recipe also works well with ground venison.

Ingredients:
4 pounds boned and ground goat meat
1 pound ground pork fat
1 1/2  tablespoons rubbed sage
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground thyme
3/4 teaspoon ground basil
3/4 teaspoon ground marjoram
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Procedure:
Mix together all of the ingredients. Form into breakfast patties and fry. Serve with eggs, toast, and a cup of hot coffee. Use as much as you like, then individually wrap sausage patties in plastic wrap and then put them in a zip-loc freezer bag. Makes 5 pounds of sausage.



Goat's Cheese
As long as we are talking about goats, I have to mention how wonderful goat cheese is, and their are so many things you can do with it. But first click on these websites for "Seven Great Goat Cheeses You Should Know", or "Goat Cheese Varieties".

Olive Oil Whipped Goat's Cheese Spread
Ingredients:
1/2 pound fresh goat's cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
crackers or rye bread, toasted
radishes

Procedure:
Whip the goat's cheese, until incorporated, with a mixer, for about 2 minutes. Serve with crackers or toasted bread and radishes.


Goat's Cheese Tart
Ingredients:
1 sheet ready-rolled puff pastry
2 tbsp olive oil
1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces soft goat’s cheese

Procedure:
Heat the oven to 425˚F. Lay out the pastry on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Then, using a sharp knife, score a line – not all the way through – along each side of the pastry, about 3/4" from the edges. This will give the tart a nice crusty edge.

Put the olive oil, cherry tomatoes, thyme leaves and garlic into a bowl and mix until they are well coated. Season with salt and pepper and mix again.

Tumble the tomato mixture evenly over the pastry, keeping it within the scored lines. Crumble the goat’s cheese over the top among the bits of tomato.

Add another quick dash of freshly ground black pepper and pop it into the oven for about 20 minutes, or until it’s golden brown and puffy on the outside, the tomatoes are collapsing slightly and the cheese is melty, then serve. Makes 4-6 servings.


Goat's Cheese Spinach Quesadilla
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced onion
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
9 ounces baby spinach
4  8-inch whole-wheat flour tortillas
4 ounces semisoft goat cheese
2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced

Procedure:
Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, sugar and salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is dark golden brown. Remove from pan. Add the spinach and 1 tablespoon water to the skillet; cook 2 minutes, or until spinach is just wilted. Remove from skillet and turn off heat. Spread a quarter of the goat cheese on each tortilla and top with spinach, tomato and onion; fold closed and press lightly. Heat the skillet and place two folded quesadillas in it; cook two minutes per side, or until golden brown and lightly crisp. Repeat. Makes 4 servings.


Goat's Cheese & Roasted Beet Salad
Ingredients:
4 medium sized fresh whole beets, trimmed of top and root, but leave the peeling on
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 slices bacon, cut into 1" pieces
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 (5 ounce package) mixed baby salad greens
2 ounces herbed goat cheese, thinly sliced

Procedure:
Put the whole, unpeeled beets in the middle of a piece of heavy wight aluminum foil, enough to cover. Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and a dash of salt and pepper. Fold the foil over the beets tightly. Place the package on a roasting pan, and roast in the oven at 400˚F for 50 to 60 minutes or until beets are fork-tender. Remove beet package from the oven, open foil package to allow the roasted beets to cool. Gently remove the peeling with your hands. Cut the beets into small bite-sized squares.

Line a plate with a paper towel. In a skillet, cook bacon until crisp over medium heat. Remove to plate. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings.

In a small bowl, whisk together, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper. Whisk in oil and reserved pan drippings until smooth and thick.

In a large serving bowl, combine salad greens, and beets. Top with slices of goat cheese and bacon. Just before serving, drizzle with dressing. Makes 4 salads.


Goat's Cheese Potato Gratin
Ingredients:
2 cups half and half
1 cup crumbled soft fresh goat cheese (about 5 ounces)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced
Freshly chopped parsley for garnish

Procedure:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Generously butter 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. Whisk first 6 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Arrange 1/3 of potatoes in bottom of prepared dish, overlapping slightly and covering completely. Pour 1/3 of half and half mixture over the potatoes. Repeat layering potatoes and half and half mixture 2 more times. Bake uncovered until potatoes are tender and top is golden brown in spots, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Serve hot. Makes 4-6 servings.

Ravioli Stuffed with Goat's Cheese
Ingredients for stuffing:
3/4 pound cream goat cheese
3 tablespoons ricotta cheese (Friendly Market)
1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil (from Kumu Farm here on Moloka'i)
1 egg, slightly beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 package wonton wrappers

Ingredients for ravioli sauce:
1/4 cup olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1- 28 oz. can Italian style tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese.

Procedure:
Mix stuffing ingredients together except the wonton wrappers, and chill in refrigerator for 1 hour minimum.

In a pot, combine the ravioli sauce ingredients. Simmer for 1 hour.

Put 1 tablespoon of mixture onto each wonton wrapper and cover with another wrapper. Seal with water around edges and pinch shut. Place in slow boiling water 2 minutes or until floats to top. Remove the raviolis to a bowl and pour the sauce over them. Garnish with Parmesan cheese. Makes 4 servings.

Apr 9, 2015

The Incredible Asian Wing Bean

I've seen these unusual looking winged green beans at our local farmer's market here on Moloka'i, but I hadn't cooked them until recently. Wing beans thrive in tropical climates with warm weather, humidity and abundant rainfall. They are grown in Southeast Asia, specifically areas within both the Phillipines and Thailand. Wing beans also grow prolifically in tropical Africa and within the islands of Hawaii. 

Known for centuries in tropical Asia, this attractive climbing perennial is more or less your total meal: all parts of the plant are edible — the pods, the beans inside, the shoots, the flowers and even the tuber. Because these plants like tropical weather, they grow nicely in home gardens here in Hawaii. 

The four winged pod is delicious, crispy, and sweet like many pea varieties. I prefer the small beans (2 to 3 inches long) because they look nice in stir-fries and soups, and you can eat them whole. The large ones must be cut into pieces, although grilling tenderizes them so you can eat them whole, like finger food. If you boil them like string beans, cook them no more than four to five minutes, and it’s best to cook the beans the day you pick or purchase them, because if you store them in the refrigerator, they will start to turn black or an ugly green and there’s no way to correct that. The taste of the pod is something between a snow pea and asparagus, hence the other name for this bean, the "Asparagus Pea". The leaves are cooked like spinach and the roots have a delicious, nutty flavor. Even the pale blue flowers are said to taste like mushrooms.
Wing Beans from Moloka'i Saturday Farmer's Market
Click on photo to view larger

Wing beans are good for our body because it has high protein content and a good source of vitamins A, C and iron. Aside from these, it is rich in calcium. If that wasn't enough, internationally renowned herbal expert James A. Duke, Ph.D., is currently doing research on the winged bean, and has found that they are a rich source for betulinic acid, one of the most promising phytochemcials for melanoma. You can read about it here.

Now you know why I call them "incredible". Enough words, let's get down to eating.


Filipino Sautéed Wing Beans with Pork
This is a simple recipe, and a good way to try this delicious Asian bean.

Ingredients:
2 teaspoons canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
2 Roma tomatoes, quartered
1 1/2 pound thinly sliced pork* belly (roast pork belly recipe)
1/3 cup water
2 teaspoons fish sauce
20 to 25 wing beans, ends trimmed and thinly sliced diagonally
Roasted sesame seeds for garnish

Procedure:
Roast pork belly as per recipe on this site. Set aside to cool as you cook the wing beans.

In a pan, heat oil and sauté garlic, onion and tomato for 3 or 4 minutes.

Stir in the water and fish sauce. Add wing beans and simmer and stir for about 4 minutes, or until beans are tender but not overcooked (al dente).

Season with salt, or Tamari sauce if needed. Serve with sliced pork belly and 2 scoops of white rice garnished with roasted sesame seeds. Makes 2 servings.

*Note: You can use ground pork in this dish but if you go to the trouble to roast a pork belly you will like it better.


Thai Wing Bean Salad (Yum Tuapu)
Ingredients:
2 cups winged beans, about 2/3 pound
1 cup minced pork, or pulled chicken, about 1/2 pound
1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons dried shrimp, chopped
2 tablespoons shallots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 medium, dried chilies, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts, chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 1/4 teaspoon palm sugar or brown sugar
1 teaspoon fish sauce
Canola or vegetable oil, frying

Procedure:
Rinse your winged beans and chop off both ends. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Set a pot of water to boil.

While waiting, heat enough oil in a medium frying pan to cover the shallots and stir often until they’re golden, but not too brown. Remove shallots. Add dried shrimp to the pan and fry them until crispy. Remove and set aside. Then add garlic and chilies and brown them.

Once cool, pound half of your shallots, garlic and chilies into a semi-smooth paste.

When your water is salted and boiling, blanch your winged beans for 20-30 seconds. Remove them and place them immediately in ice water to stop them from cooking. Reserve the water.

Add your finely-minced pork to the water and cook for 5-7 minutes.

In a saucepan, boil the coconut milk, take off heat and add sugar, chili/shallot paste, lime juice, fish sauce and peanuts. Mix well.

Add dressing to winged beans and minced pork, toss and serve. Garnish with crispy dried shrimp and shallots. Makes 4 servings.

Note: You can watch this salad being put together on this website (click here)


Apr 7, 2015

God Created Cookies To Tempt Us... Knowing That We Are Weak.

Adams Cookies
Click on image to view larger











Actually my first recollection of cookies would have to be Animal Crackers as pictured to the right. I don't know why they called them crackers, they were definitely sweet like cookies. They came in this little circus wagon box with animals on it. The little cookies actually looked like animals, 17 different kinds to be exact. Each box had 22 cookies in them, I counted them once. Naturally I hid them from my friends. 

I've really grown up a lot since then and have evolved from an animal monster to a cookie monster. Now when I make cookies, I hide them from my wife.

Here are eight of my favorites:

Adults Only... "Chocolate Bourbon Balls"
This is an easy, no-bake recipe. I make these during the holidays every year to give as gifts, they are delicious and very potent. They should not be served without checking the recipients ID.

Chocolate Bourbon Balls
To enlarge, click on photo

Ingredients:
1/2 cup finely chopped dried cherries or cranberries
1/4 cup Maker's Mark bourbon (you can use whatever brand you like, this is my favorite)
2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs (15.25 ounce package of Orios with cream centers removed, then crushed)
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup finely chopped pecans to roll the bourbon balls in

Procedure:
In a small bowl, let 1/2 cup finely chopped cherries macerate in 1/4 cup of Makers Mark bourbon for 15 minutes. In a large bowl, combine well 2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs, 1/2 cup each of firmly packed dark brown sugar and finely chopped pecans, the cherry mixture, 1/4 cup molasses, 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon and ground ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves. Form the mixture into 1-inch balls and firmly roll the balls in finely chopped pecans. Store the bourbon balls in an airtight container in your refrigerator for at least 1 week before serving. Makes about 30 servings.


Kids Only... "Peanut Butter & Jelly Cookies"
Peanut butter and jelly are as popular here in Hawaii as it is on the mainland. This recipe will not only please the little kids, but the big kids as well. This is one my favorite cookies.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cookies
Click on photo to view larger
Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup for rolling the dough
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup extra chunky peanut butter (I use Jiffy brand)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all purpose flour
1 large jar of the jelly of your choice (I use Smucker's seedless raspberry)
Parchment paper

Procedure:
In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter, shortening and sugars, then mix in peanut butter, eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and flour. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the sugar/butter mixture. Beat until thoroughly combined.

Next place a long sheet of plastic wrap on your kitchen counter and place half of the cookie mixture into a long row in the middle of the plastic wrap. Fold the wrap tightly over the cookie dough. Repeat this process with the other half of the dough, then put the two dough logs into your refrigerator for 2 hours. This process will make handling the dough while forming the cookies much easier.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat your oven to 350˚F. Now line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar into a plate. Unwrap the chilled dough and make balls using about 1 tablespoon of dough per ball. Roll the balls completely in the sugar. Place each ball on the parchment lined cookie sheets, leaving about 1 1/2 inches of space between the balls, as they will spread while cooking. Take a fork and gently press lines into the top of the cookie balls, first horizontal then vertical, creating a patern on top of each cookie.

Place the cookie sheets into the heated oven on two different shelves toward the top of your oven. Cook for 5 minutes, then open the oven and switch around the cookie sheets so the bottom is now on the top. This will ensure even browning on the bottom of the cookies. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove cookies to cool for about 30 minutes. Decorate the top of each cookie with a dab of your favorite jelly. Makes about 60 cookies.

Note: You can freeze the dough to cook the cookies at a later date. Just put the logs into a zip-loc freezer bag.


Chocolate Macadamia Shortbread Cookies
I love macadamia nuts, they are actually grown here on Moloka'i. Combine the wonderful flavor and texture of Hawaiian Macadamia nuts with dark chocolate, then put them in shortbread cookies, and watch them vanish.

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
8 ounces dark chocolate
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup macadamia nuts, finely chopped

Procedure:
Cream the butter until smooth and beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla. When the butter and sugar are combined, slowly add flour and beat until incorporated. Mix in the 1 cup of coarsely chopped macadamia nuts. Roll the dough into a log and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Heat oven to 300°F and remove dough from refrigerator. Slice the log into 1/4-1/2 inch slices. Place the slices on an ungreased baking sheet an inch apart and bake for 20 minutes or until the cookies turn golden around the edges. Remove from oven, and place cookies on a cooling rack. While cookies are cooling, melt the chocolate with the shortening, then dip each cookie halfway into the melted chocolate. Immediately sprinkle the top of the chocolate coated half of the cookie with the finely chopped macadamia nuts. Set cookies on parchment or wax paper, and let cool. Makes about 30 cookies.


Orange Lace Cookies
I first made these in cooking school and have always loved them. Thin crispy cookies, flavored with fresh orange juice and zest and full of holes, like lace. These are elegant and really go well with an elegant dessert, like my "Prickly-Sweet Hawaiian Pineapple Sorbet" (recipe).

Ingredients:
1 cup + 2 tablespoons (8 oz) sugar
3/4 cup (3 oz) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (4 oz) fresh orange juice
1 stick (4 oz) butter
1 orange zested (zest the orange first, then cut it in half and use the juice)

Procedure:
Stir together the flour and sugar in a large bowl. Melt the butter. I like to stick it in the microwave in 30-second intervals until it’s liquified. Add the orange zest to the bowl with the juice, then pour the juice over the flour. Whisk until it's smooth, then pour in the butter and whisk until that's completely incorporated. Now refrigerate the bowl of batter for 2 hours or overnight, wrapped tightly in plastic.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Fill a pastry bag, outfitted with a small plain tip, with batter. (You can also fill a ziplock bag, then snip off a bit of the corner.) Pipe nickel-sized rounds on Silpat-lined cookie sheets, spaced 3 inches apart. Yes, space them far apart because they spread. And use the flattest sheet pans you’ve got or the batter will slide around. You will have way more batter than sheet pans, so you’ll need to bake them in batches. Or bake some today, and then some tomorrow. Bake for about 10 minutes. Keep a close eye on these. You want them golden orange. If they get into the brown palette, they start to get bitter. 

Once they come out of the oven, they will be quite soft and if you try to pick them up, they will rip. Wait about 60 seconds for them to set up a little, then you can shape them. Gently glide an offset spatula under them to loosen, then drape them over something round, like a rolling pin, a wine bottle, a vinegar bottle, a pepper grinder, whatever you’ve got kicking around. Once they harden, you can slide them off. If the cookies harden on the sheet pan before you’ve had a chance to shape all of them, return the sheet pan to the oven for 30-60 seconds, and they will heat up and get pliable again. If you have no desire to deal with the shaping, which is admittedly a small production, simply let them cool flat on the sheet pans, and you’ll have flat, but still lovely, cookies. Store in an airtight tupperware. These cookies don’t like humidity which is a problem in Hawaii, they get soft. Makes about 60 cookies.


Cinful Cookies
I call these "cinful" because they contain cinnamon. Even the texture is sinful, tender on the inside and crunchy on the outside.

Ingredients:
2 cups flour, all-purpose
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon whole milk

Procedure:
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a separate bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
In another bowl mix together with a hand held mixer, butter, ginger, molasses, 3/4 cup sugar and milk until light and fluffy.

Slowly add dry ingredients into wet ingredients, 1/3 at a time. Mix on low until mixture is moist and all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Do not over mix.

Scoop 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough and form each into ball shapes, then flatten slightly and press one side in remaining sugar and place sugar side up on the parchment lined baking sheets.

Repeat with remaining dough, placing cookies 1 1/2 inches apart.

Bake 10-12 minutes, or until tops are cracked and edges are hard.

Let cookies cool completely on pan... if you can wait that long. Makes 12 servings.


Coconut Palmier Hearts
Palmiers are simple cookies to make using ready-made puff pastry. The addition of coconut flakes make these little hearts very tropical.

Ingredients:
1 pound package of ready-made frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 7-ounce package sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Procedure:
Unwrap the puff pastry and lay them on a clean work surface. Cover to prevent the dough from drying out and let it thaw until completely pliable but still cool. It's very important that the dough be completely thawed before using.

In a food processor, combine the coconut, sugar, and cinnamon. Process until finely ground, about 2 full minutes. Pour 1 cup of this mixture onto a flat surface like a smooth kitchen counter, and spread it out to the diameter of the puff pastry dough.

Unfold one sheet of pastry onto the coconut mixture and pour an additional 1/2 cup of the coconut mixture on top. Use your hands to cover the pastry thickly with the coconut. (The pastry will be sandwiched between 2 layers of coconut.)

Run a rolling pin over the pastry to press the sugar and coconut into the dough and help it adhere. You want to roll the dough out to a 13-inch square. Using a bench scraper, or edge of a large knife, lift the sides of the pastry up and fold them toward the center so they meet flush in the middle. Then fold one half over the other like you're closing a book. Wrap the rolled log loosely with parchment and place it in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm up.

Repeat this process with the other puff pastry sheet using the remaining coconut-sugar mixture.

Pre-heat the oven to 450°F. Place a rack in the middle position.

Remove the plastic wrap. Use a sharp knife to slice the rolls into cookies roughly about 3/8-inch thick. Arrange the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet, allowing 2 inches of expansion room between each one. Now pinch together about 1/2 inch of dough, right below where the two rolls meet on each cookie, which helps to form the point of a heart.

Bake the palters in batches until golden and caramelized on the bottom, about 15 minutes. Turn the cookies over and bake until golden on the other side, about 7 minutes more. It's the caramelized sugar and toasted coconut that provide the flavor.

Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Cookies will be less crispy but still delicious the next day. Serve with my Hawaiian Pineapple Sorbet (see recipe index). Makes about 32 cookies.


Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies
When I was a small child I had a dream about a giant who made these cookies with his thumbprint... they were huge! Unfortunately these are just little ones.

Ingredients for lemon curd:
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into bits

Procedure for lemon curd:
Whisk together juice, zest, sugar, and eggs in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Stir in butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisk and first bubble appears on surface, about 6 minutes.

Transfer lemon curd to a bowl and chill, its surface covered with plastic wrap, until cold, at least 1 hour. Makes about 1 1/3 cups. Note: Curd can be chilled up to 1 week.

Ingredients for cookies:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup lemon curd (recipe above)

Procedure for cookies:
Heat oven to 350˚F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or nonstick liners. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with mixer until well blended. Beat in yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. With mixer on low, beat in flour just until moist clumps form. Gather dough together in bowl to bind.

Shape scant tablespoons of dough into 1-inch balls. Place balls on prepared sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart. Using a floured finger, make a deep indentation in center of each ball. Bake cookies until firm and lightly golden on bottom, about 18 to 20 minutes.

Remove cookies from oven and immediately fill indentations with curd. Return to oven and bake 2 minutes longer to set curd.

Bake remaining cookies. Lightly dust edges with confectioners' sugar before serving. Makes 45 cookies.


Happy Birthday Cookies
These fun bite-sized birthday cookies look like mini cakes with colorful sprinkles. All you need is a lit candle on top and a wish for another Happy Birthday Cookie.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons colorful sprinkles

Buttercream filling ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners sugar
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Colorful sprinkles, for rolling the cookies in

Birthday Candles

Procedure:
To make the birthday cake cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, or silicone mats. Set aside until needed.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the sour cream and mix until fully incorporated. Mix in the vanilla.

With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture. Add the milk and then increase the speed to medium and beat until the batter is moist and thick.

Using a tablespoon, scoop small rounds of dough into the palm of your hand. Roll the dough into a ball and then flatten it into a small, flat disc. Bake the cookies for about 8-10 minutes until they have set and the edges start to turn a light golden brown. Remove the cookies from the oven and transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

While the cookies are cooling, make the buttercream filling. Cream the butter in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Add the confectioners sugar and salt and mix (gradually increasing in speed) until the sugar is fully incorporated, about 5 minutes. You may need to stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple times. Add the vanilla and whisk until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Once the buttercream is creamy and airy, the buttercream is ready.

To create the cookie sandwiches, match the cookies in pairs. Place each pair next to each other, with one of the cookies topside down. Frost a thick layer of buttercream on the cookie that it topside down. Top with the other cookie and repeat with the remaining cookies.

Place a birthday candle into the top of the birthday boy/girls cookie sandwich. These last up to 5 days in a sealed container.

Apr 5, 2015

Eat, Drink, & Be Merry!











I'll be 71 soon, yep gett'n old, 
so it's time for a party with good friends, 
and naturally, great food!

My Birthday Menu –

Antipasti Appetizers:
Castelvetrano Green Olives, imported from Italy
Artichoke Hearts in Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sweet Italian Garlic in Oil
Crisp, Hot Pickled Okra
Assorted Pre-sliced Cured Meats
Assorted Crackers
All of the above were purchased online from Ditalia.com

First Course:
Tobiko Stuffed Lettuce Wraps

Second Course:
Spiny Lobster Bisque with Crusty Bread

Main Course:
Grilled Local Venison Tenderloin

Sides:
Fresh Corn Pudding
Pan Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pine Nuts

Dessert:
Prickly-Sweet Hawaiian Pineapple Sorbet
with Orange Lace Cookies or Coconut Palmier Hearts

Wines & Liqueur:
• A nice crisp white wine like Wente brand Chardonnay to go with the lobster bisque
• A nice rich red wine like Syrah, Zinfandel, and Grenache to go with the venison
• A fruity after dinner libation called Pama, a seductive ruby colored liqueur made from pomegranate 


Here are the recipes:

Tobiko Stuffed Lettuce Wraps
Ingredients:
2 hard cooked eggs, cooled and chopped
1 tablespoons mayonnaise, Best Foods brand
1/4 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
1 head butter or curly leaf lettuce
1  5.5 ounce package of Uzumaki steamed fish cake (Friendly Market on Moloka'i)
Tobiko flying fish egg caviar (Friendly Market on Moloka'i)
More dried dill for garnish

Procedure:
Mix chopped cold hard cooked eggs with mayonnaise, Old Bay Seasoning, and dill. Place 4 small lettuce leaves in the middle of a chilled dinner plate. Put a teaspoon of the egg mixture in the center of each lettuce leaf. Thinly slice 4 pieces of Uzumaki, about 1/8 inch thick, and place one slice on top of the egg mixture, pressing down on it slightly, creating a level tray to place a teaspoon of tobiko on top of.  Garnish each plate by sprinkling dried dill on each plate. Makes 4 appetizer or first course servings.


Spiny Lobster Bisque
Ingredients:
4, 1/2 pound lobster tails, in shells
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, minced
1/2 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup white wine
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/3 cup dry sherry
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 cups lobster base (see instructions below)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Procedure:
Fill a large pot half-way with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add the lobster tails and boil for 8-10 minutes, or until the shells are bright red and the flesh is opaque. Remove the lobster from the boiling water and allow to cool. Reserve the water – this will become your lobster base.

Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and onion and saute until tender, about 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, until the garlic becomes fragrant.

To make the lobster base, remove the lobster from the shell either by cutting through the shell with kitchen shears (my preferred method) or chopping in half and pulling out the flesh. Place the lobster on a cutting board and, after removing any remaining veins, chop into bite-size pieces. Throw the shells back in the water you just boiled the lobster in and boil for another 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, strain the water from the shells using a fine mesh strainer, reserving 1 1/2 cups of the base.

Add the flour to the onion-shallot-garlic mixture and stir to combine. Cook for 2 minutes.

Slowly add the wine, taking care to slowly incorporate the wine into the thickened mixture. Once mixed in and smooth, add the Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, salt, pepper and thyme. Cook for 1-2 minutes until this mixture becomes a thick paste.

Slowly add the sherry and deglaze the pan if any bits are sticking to the pan at this time.

Add the paprika, tomato paste and lobster base and stir to combine well. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Blend the mixture in a blender or using an immersion blender. The mixture should be very smooth. Return the blended mixture to the pan and add in the heavy cream and butter. Taste at this time to check if any additional salt or pepper is needed. Bring the mixture to a simmer.

Once simmering, add the lobster chunks back in and cook until heated though.

Serve hot and with crusty bread. Makes 4 servings.


Grilled Local Venison Tenderloin
Tender cuts of venison should be cooked quickly to a rare or medium-rare level of doneness. If it is prepared past medium-rare too much moisture will be cooked out causing the meat to become dry and tough.

Ingredients:
2, 1 pound venison tenderloins, or beef tenderloin if you can't get venison

Marinade Ingredients:
1 head of garlic
1-2 tablespoons sea salt to taste
1/2 cup rosemary needles
6-8 dry bay leaves, crumbled
3-4 teaspoons dried Mediterranean herbs, such as oregano, basil, and thyme
2 tablespoons Tamari sauce
1/4 cup olive oil ground
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Special equipment:
A grill and charcoal
Meat thermometer

Procedure:
The day before your dinner, trim the tenderloins, removing all visible fat and most of the silver skin (translucent membrane). If the loins have a long tapered end, curl the thin end back and toothpick it in place so it doesn't overcook. Now make a paste out of the marinade ingredients, garlic, sea salt, rosemary, bay leaves, oregano, basil, thyme, soy sauce, olive oil, and black pepper in a mortar, blender, or food processor. Pour the sauce into a large zipper-top plastic freezer bag and let rest for at least 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Turn the bag once or twice during this time to distribute the marinade. Bring the tenderloins to room temperature for 20 - 30 minutes before cooking.

Prepare your charcoal grill. Oil grill grates with vegetable oil to prevent the tenderloin from sticking. I prefer not to use lighter fluid as it is toxic and nasty. There is a Weber coal starter which costs about $15 and starts about the right amount of charcoal with a few pieces of newspaper. It is a sort of metal chimney with a basket in it, and is very easy to use. When the coal is red hot, put it in the grill and spread it out. Close the grill top to get everything hot inside.

Once the coals have cooked down a little to medium high, and have a nice grey dust on them, put the tenderloins, directly over the coals, and grill for about 6-8 minutes of cooking per inch of thickness for the tenderloins. Keep turning the tenderloins, then check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. It should read 125˚F for rare, 130˚F for medium rare, any higher and the venison will get tough. If you don't have a meat thermometer, you should, they are cheap and everyone should have on in their kitchen. If you don't have one, you will have to make a small cut into the meat to check for doneness. Personally I like my red meat medium rare.

Remove the tenderloins to a warm platter and cover with foil for a few minutes. This allows the juices to stay in the meat, not on your cutting board. Keep everything warm in a 200˚F oven, covered with foil, until ready to serve, then cut the tenderloins into 1 inch rounds, or cut them on an angle. Makes 4 servings.

Note: This cooking method works with larger cuts of venison (working cuts) as well, but can take up to 2 hours to cook indirectly off the coals. Remove the larger cuts from the grill when the internal temperature reaches 120˚F. This will rise to about 130˚ as the meat "rests".


Fresh Corn Pudding
Ingredients:
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
5 cups FRESH yellow corn kernels cut off the cob (6 to 8 ears)
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
4 extra-large eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup Ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup (6 ounces) grated extra-sharp cheddar, plus extra for the top

Procedure:
Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Grease the inside of an 8 to 10-cup baking dish. Melt the butter in a very large saute pan and saute the corn and onion over medium-high heat for 4 minutes. Cool slightly. Whisk together the eggs, milk, and half-and-half in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the cornmeal and then the Ricotta cheese. Add the basil, sugar, salt, and pepper. Add the cooked corn mixture and grated cheddar, and then pour into the baking dish. Sprinkle the top with more grated cheddar. Place the dish in a larger pan and fill the pan 1/2 way up the sides of the dish with hot tap water. Bake the pudding for 40 to 45 minutes until the top begins to brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm. Makes 8 servings.


Pan Roasted Brussel Sprouts 
with Garlic & Pine Nuts
Ingredients:
1 pound brussels sprouts
3 large garlic cloves
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons pine nuts

Procedure:
Trim Brussels sprouts and halve lengthwise. Cut garlic into very thin slices. In a 10-inch heavy skillet (preferably well-seasoned cast iron) melt 1 tablespoon butter with oil over moderate heat and cook garlic, stirring, until pale golden. Transfer garlic with a slotted spoon to a small bowl. Reduce heat to low and arrange sprouts in skillet, cut sides down, in one layer. Sprinkle sprouts with pine nuts and salt to taste. Cook sprouts, without turning, until crisp-tender and undersides are golden brown, about 15 minutes.

With tongs transfer sprouts to a plate, browned sides up. Add garlic and remaining butter to skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until pine nuts are more evenly pale golden, about 1 minute. Spoon mixture over sprouts and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Makes 4 servings.


Prickly-Sweet Hawaiian Pineapple Sorbet
This sorbet is so easy to make, and it comes out as light as a Hawaiian cloud. It's the perfect dessert after a heavy meal. Once you make this once, you will have it often.

Ingredients:
1 ripe pineapple, peeled and cored
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
Fresh pineapple wedges or mint sprigs for garnish (optional)

Procedure:
After you peel and core the pineapple, use the tip of your knife to remove any little eyes. Cut pineapple into 2-inch pieces. Place pineapple and lemon juice in a food processor; process until smooth. Add sugar; process 1 minute or until sugar dissolves.

Pour mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. As the sorbet freezes, it becomes light as a cloud. Spoon sorbet into a freezer-safe container. Cover and freeze 1 hour or until firm. Garnish with mint sprigs, if desired, and a cookie, like Orange Lace Cookies, or Coconut Palmier Cookies (see recipe index).

Note: I use a Cuisinart ICE-20 Automatic 1-1/2-Quart Ice Cream Maker. I have had it for years and am very happy with it. They still sell it on Amazon.com for $53.00. If you don't have an ice-cream maker, use a covered metal bowl. Freeze mixture 3 hours or until it is hard on the outside but slushy in the middle. Remove it from the freezer, beat it with a whisk until smooth, and return to the freezer, covered, for 4 hours until firm. Makes 8 large servings (or 2 quarts).


Orange Lace Cookies
I first made these in cooking school and have always loved them. Thin crispy cookies, flavored with fresh orange juice and zest and full of holes, like lace. These are elegant and really go well with an elegant dessert, like my "Prickly-Sweet Hawaiian Pineapple Sorbet" (recipe).

Ingredients:
1 cup + 2 tablespoons (8 oz) sugar
3/4 cup (3 oz) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (4 oz) fresh orange juice
1 stick (4 oz) butter
1 orange zested (zest the orange first, then cut it in half and use the juice)

Procedure:
Stir together the flour and sugar in a large bowl. Melt the butter. I like to stick it in the microwave in 30-second intervals until it’s liquified. Add the orange zest to the bowl with the juice, then pour the juice over the flour. Whisk until it's smooth, then pour in the butter and whisk until that's completely incorporated. Now refrigerate the bowl of batter for 2 hours or overnight, wrapped tightly in plastic.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Fill a pastry bag, outfitted with a small plain tip, with batter. (You can also fill a ziplock bag, then snip off a bit of the corner.) Pipe nickel-sized rounds on Silpat-lined cookie sheets, spaced 3 inches apart. Yes, space them far apart because they spread. And use the flattest sheet pans you’ve got or the batter will slide around. You will have way more batter than sheet pans, so you’ll need to bake them in batches. Or bake some today, and then some tomorrow. Bake for about 10 minutes. Keep a close eye on these. You want them golden orange. If they get into the brown palette, they start to get bitter. 

Once they come out of the oven, they will be quite soft and if you try to pick them up, they will rip. Wait about 60 seconds for them to set up a little, then you can shape them. Gently glide an offset spatula under them to loosen, then drape them over something round, like a rolling pin, a wine bottle, a vinegar bottle, a pepper grinder, whatever you’ve got kicking around. Once they harden, you can slide them off. If the cookies harden on the sheet pan before you’ve had a chance to shape all of them, return the sheet pan to the oven for 30-60 seconds, and they will heat up and get pliable again. If you have no desire to deal with the shaping, which is admittedly a small production, simply let them cool flat on the sheet pans, and you’ll have flat, but still lovely, cookies. Store in an airtight tupperware. These cookies don’t like humidity which is a problem in Hawaii, they get soft. Makes about 60 cookies.


Coconut Palmier Hearts
Palmiers are simple cookies to make using ready-made puff pastry. The addition of coconut flakes make these little hearts very tropical.

Ingredients:
1 pound package of ready-made frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 7-ounce package sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Procedure:
Unwrap the puff pastry and lay them on a clean work surface. Cover to prevent the dough from drying out and let it thaw until completely pliable but still cool. It's very important that the dough be completely thawed before using.

In a food processor, combine the coconut, sugar, and cinnamon. Process until finely ground, about 2 full minutes. Pour 1 cup of this mixture onto a flat surface like a smooth kitchen counter, and spread it out to the diameter of the puff pastry dough.

Unfold one sheet of pastry onto the coconut mixture and pour an additional 1/2 cup of the coconut mixture on top. Use your hands to cover the pastry thickly with the coconut. (The pastry will be sandwiched between 2 layers of coconut.)

Run a rolling pin over the pastry to press the sugar and coconut into the dough and help it adhere. You want to roll the dough out to a 13-inch square. Using a bench scraper, or edge of a large knife, lift the sides of the pastry up and fold them toward the center so they meet flush in the middle. Then fold one half over the other like you're closing a book. Wrap the rolled log loosely with parchment and place it in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm up.

Repeat this process with the other puff pastry sheet using the remaining coconut-sugar mixture.

Pre-heat the oven to 450°F. Place a rack in the middle position.

Remove the plastic wrap. Use a sharp knife to slice the rolls into cookies roughly about 3/8-inch thick. Arrange the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet, allowing 2 inches of expansion room between each one. Now pinch together about 1/2 inch of dough, right below where the two rolls meet on each cookie, which helps to form the point of a heart.

Bake the palters in batches until golden and caramelized on the bottom, about 15 minutes. Turn the cookies over and bake until golden on the other side, about 7 minutes more. It's the caramelized sugar and toasted coconut that provide the flavor.

Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Cookies will be less crispy but still delicious the next day. Serve with my Hawaiian Pineapple Sorbet (see recipe index). Makes about 32 cookies.


The Fruit That Thinks It's A Vegetable



Butternut squash is actually a fruit, and is considered a "superfood", high in fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, beta-carotene and anti-inflammatory compounds. It can be roasted, toasted, puréed for soups, or mashed and used in casseroles, breads, and muffins. Everybody loves its rich sweet taste, even kids. Butternut squash is actually grown here in Hawaii, but my guess is that the kabocha squash is the most popular squash in this state due to the Filipino population here. I like them both, they both have a natural sweetness, but the kabocha squash has a dryer mouth feel than butternut squash, that's why I like butternut best. This is my favorite way to cook it:

Easy Roasted Butternut Squash
This is the best way, in my opinion, to cook this fruit/vegetable because the squash has a chance to caramelize leaving this heavenly semi-sweet flavor, plus it helps that it is also easy to make.

Ingredients:
one small butternut squash, enough for two people to eat
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar or maple syrup
2 pinches of cinnamon
pinch of sea salt

Procedure:
Ok, this is the hardest part, slicing the butternut squash in half lengthwise with a hefty knife (see photo above). Just be careful not to cut yourself, because this fruit is tough. After you have achieved this task, remove the seeds and other slimy stuff with a soup spoon and your fingers (save the seeds to roast if you like, see note below). Place the two halves, cut-side up, on a small roasting pan lined with foil. Put one tablespoon of butter into each cavity. Sprinkle each half with a tablespoon of brown sugar, a pinch of cinnamon and sea salt to taste and that's it. Now wasn't that easy?

All you have to do now is roast it in a 425˚F oven for about 50 minutes to an hour, or until the flesh is fork-tender. Makes two servings.

Note: This simple side dish is wonderful cooked with my "Rosemary Pork Ribs" (see recipe index), or with roast chicken, cornish game hens, or even pork belly, and it makes a nice change from sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving. One other thing, the seeds can also be roasted if combined with one teaspoon of vegetable oil per cup of seeds in a 375˚F oven. Place the seeds, spread out, on a baking sheet, stirring every 5 minutes, until seeds are aromatic, crisp, and browned, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of seasoned salt, and toss to combine. To make a delicious butternut squash soup, check out this recipe.


Apr 3, 2015

The Beautiful Hawaiian Onaga

Onaga
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Onaga is one of my favorite Hawaii fish to eat. It's better known by its Japanese name Onaga, than by its Hawaiian name, `ula`ula koae. It is from the snapper family and is also called ruby snapper or scarlet snapper, due to it's brilliant red color. Onaga have a unique profile with distinctive caudal fins that end in long, slender points.

Onaga has clear, light pink flesh similar to that of one of my other favorite fish, the opakapaka but somewhat softer and moister. Fish caught during the winter months seem to have a higher fat content than those caught in the summer; hence onaga yield the best sashimi during the winter season.

Most of the onaga caught off the Hawaiian Islands range in size from 1 to 18 pounds. Harvested exclusively with vertical hook-and-line gear, this bottomfish is caught in deep waters at 600-1000 feet.

Hawaii's residents have a strong culturally-oriented demand for long tail red snappers for ceremonial occasions such as the New Year's season and weddings, when onaga sashimi is traditionally served.


Broiled Onaga with Red Slaw
Kualapu'u Market, in the small plantation town of Kualapu'u here on the Hawaiian island of Moloka'i, had two beautiful onaga for sale today that were just caught in the deep waters off of our shores. I bought one, and after the cleaning process, I was able to get six large servings out of it. The meat turned pure white after cooking and was super moist due to its fat content. This is a very simple recipe that I had to share with you. Check with the market, perhaps they can get one for you to enjoy. If you don't live in Hawaii, then try any snapper, they are all in the same family.


Broiled Onaga with Red Slaw
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Ingredients:
2 Onaga fillets
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried dill
2 tablespoons Tamari sauce or soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon wedges

Procedure:
Place Onaga fillets on a foil lined broiling pan, skin side down. Drizzle fillets with melted butter, then sprinkle with Old Bay Seasoning, garlic, dill, Tamari sauce or soy sauce, and fresh lemon juice. Place under the broiler on the top shelf, and broil on low heat for about 15 minutes until cooked through. Serve with a simple red cabbage slaw mixed with grated carrot, and a dressing of fresh lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Garnish plates with fresh lemon wedges. Makes 2 servings.



Steamed Onaga 
with Soy/Ginger Vinaigrette
Ingredients:
2 pounds whole onaga or opakapaka, scaled and cleaned

Soy/Ginger Vinaigrette:
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar or regular vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 2-inch piece ginger, minced
2 stalks green onions, chopped
1 small onion, sliced
3 pieces Hawaiian chili peppers, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup water

Garnish:
1/2 cup cilantro

Procedure:
Soy/Ginger: Combine soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, and sesame oil. Whisk together until sugar is completely melted into mixture. Then add in ginger, green onions, sliced onions, chili peppers, and garlic. Whisk together ingredients, then add water; mix again.

Steam: Place fish onto a large skillet or steamer. Pour soy/ginger vinaigrette over fish and cover. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil, then turn heat down to medium and let steam for about 20-25 minutes.

Place fish on platter and pour remaining sauce over fish. Garnish with cilantro. Makes 4-6 servings.